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Newark and Sherwood Council has boosted customer service, saved valuable hours of admin time and increased revenues collection since implementing OPENRevenues self-service technology with Civica, a market leader in critical software applications, digital solutions and managed and outsourced services.

Civica’s OPENRevenues provides council tax and business rates administration. This includes a ‘citizen portal’ where customers can view their account and claim information, and retrieve e-bills online, removing the need for paper bills. Not only does this streamline interactions for citizens but also delivers efficiencies and cuts costs for the council. It speeds up end-to-end processing and frees up employees for other business-critical functions.

Customers have been very keen to make the move online. Since January 2016, the use of OPENChannel forms has risen sharply from 76 times per month to 1,000 times a month. Council employees are now able to deal with phone calls more efficiently as they can make amendments using the same e-forms. E-billing and e-scheduling is also proving popular, with all major landlords (more than 3,000 benefit claims) now receiving monthly benefit payment schedules in electronic form.

Our move to digital channels is progressing well and we’re really starting to see the benefits. Before implementation, our Revenues and Benefits team was taking up to 7,000 calls a month and finding it hard to manage demand. But now every time we use an online OPENChannel form we save around ten minutes during the process. For example, in February 2017, we processed 788 forms, saving us 166 hours in just one month.” Phil Ward, Business Manager, Revenues and Benefits at Newark and Sherwood District Council 

Collection rates for council tax are significantly higher at the start of 2017, compared to 2016, in part due to the quick and accurate processing system. The council has now issued more than 1,300 e-bills to customers and is using SMS reminder texts to generate an improved response (with 4,000 texts issued since April 2016).

Jon Gibbs, Civica’s Revenues and Benefits Product Strategy Director, commented: “Digital transformation is a key element for local authorities to meet future service needs within the ever challenging budget constraints; this is driving our current and future Revenues and Benefits development. However digital transformation is only part of our solution: we’re also dedicated to improving end-to-end processing, to minimise the use of back office resource as demonstrated so well here by Newark and Sherwood Council.”

Civica’s OPENChannel solution has now been implemented by 25 customers (23 currently live).